Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare Passes Halfway Mark to Prepare 1,000 Faculty and Clinical Leaders by 2020

NEW YORK, February 5, 2014 – The Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, the nation’s leading philanthropic funder of graduate nursing education, today announced a significant milestone: it has passed the halfway mark to its goal of underwriting 1,000 doctoral scholars by 2020.

With the selection of its fourth cohort of nursing candidates for the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program and Jonas Veteran Healthcare Program (JVHP), the Jonas Center is directly addressing the lowest enrollment increase in professional registered nurse programs in the past five years – due primarily to a shortage in qualified faculty. These scholarships support nurses pursuing PhDs and DNPs, the terminal degrees in the field.

“The call for more nurses – and thus the faculty to prepare them – is massive. Healthcare in America has never been more complex, yet tens of thousands of would-be nurses are turned away from the profession each year,” said Donald Jonas, co-founder of the Jonas Center. “We’ve stepped up the pace and expanded our programs to meet this need.”

The new cohort comprises 300 students at 110 schools across the nation, bringing to nearly 600 the number of future nurse educators and leaders supported by Jonas Center programs. To date, the Jonas Center has contributed more than $8.2 million to the initiative; and partner schools have matched these funds with roughly $4 million.

In the course of a 30-year career, one nurse faculty member could teach approximately 7,500 nurses who, in turn, would touch the lives of a potential 3.6 million patients in their care, according to a 2010 impact assessment by the Jonas Center and New York University College of Nursing. “The ROI for these Scholars is considerable,” said Darlene Curley, executive director of the Jonas Center.

Troubling survey data from AACN released in January showed that 2013 marked the lowest enrollment increase (only 2.6 percent) in professional RN programs in the past five years. “Behind this modest increase are more than 53,000 qualified applicants turned away from nursing programs in the last year,” Curley said. “This problem will be exacerbated by a wave of nurse faculty retirements over the next ten years.”


Addressing a Quiet Crisis

Less than a decade ago, the U.S. faced a historic clinical nursing shortage that was highly visible on the frontlines of care. The recession eased the shortage and many policy experts and foundations turned to other pressing matters. But they missed a new problem: a severe lack of qualified faculty to train new nurses.

“Over the last several years, the Jonas Center has led the nation as an important voice for nursing and as a leading philanthropy addressing the nurse faculty shortage on a large scale,” said Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). “While the impact of the scholar programs is enormous, the challenges are also massive and require even more attention from the political, business and philanthropic communities.”

According to Curley, at no other time has the need for nursing education and support been greater:

  • 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day[1];
  • By 2020, there will be 55 million people 65 or older; there will be 72.1 million in 2030[2]; and
  • There were roughly 1,400 nurse faculty vacancies in 2013[3].

“If these trends continue, it will have a severe impact on an aging population that will need increased nursing care in the near future,” said Curley. “We look forward to reaching our goal of 1,000 scholars as quickly as possible, and hope others join our cause to support educational development of nurses so that we all have the care we need and deserve.”

In March 2013, the Jonas Center announced what is believed to be the largest commitment, nearly $25 million, specifically for nursing faculty and clinical leader training – directing close to $14 million of its own funds and soliciting another $10.5 million in leveraged funds to the cause.

The Jonas Center’s programs in many cases proved prescient, preceding recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 Future of Nursing Report. The JVHP and 1,000 scholars goal are also aligned with President Obama’s executive order to improve mental health services for veterans, service members and military families.

The programs receive support from the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation, The Mayday Fund, California Community Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.


About the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare

In 2006, Barbara and Donald Jonas established the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare(formerly known as the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence), the leading national philanthropic funder dedicated to improving healthcare by advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and innovation. Its two main programs are the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program, which aims to address the dire shortage of nursing faculty by preparing nurses with doctoral degrees to step into this critical role, and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, which seeks to improve the health of veterans by supporting doctoral-level nursing candidates committed to advancing veterans’ healthcare. These programs currently support nearly 600 doctoral scholars nationwide, with a goal to support 1,000 Scholars by 2020. 


Olivia Goodman, Matt Rindone
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[2] Administration of Aging, A Profile of Older Americans (December 2011)

[3] American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Nursing Faculty Shortage Fact Sheet (January 2014)